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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

Watch The Lunchbox, skip Phata Poster Nikla Hero

Serena Menon, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, September 20, 2013
First Published: 12:58 IST(20/9/2013) | Last Updated: 15:18 IST(20/9/2013)

Big package in a small dabba
Film:
The Lunchbox
Cast: Irrfan Khan (last seen in D-Day), Nimrat Kaur (last seen in Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana; 2012), Nawazuddin Siddiqui (last seen in Bombay Talkies), Bharati Achrekar (last seen in Chashme Baddoor) and Lillete Dubey (last seen in Chashme Baddoor)
Storyline: A soon-to-retire widower and a lonely housewife find solace in each other when they start exchanging hand-written notes via dabbas.

Director
Ritesh Batra (Feature film debut) He has previously written, directed and produced a few short films. Ritesh has also been credited as an actor in a short film that he produced.

Music
Max Richter (original music)
The movie recently made news for using the title track of the Sanjay Dutt-Madhuri Dixit film, Saajan (1991), in a scene. 

Controversies/stunts
Drama king, director Karan Johar came on board to present this film that has been co-produced by Anurag Kashyap, Guneet Monga and Arun Rangachari. Although the film wasn’t embroiled in any controversy, Nawazuddin’s absence from a few promotional events led to speculation regarding him being sidelined.

Marketing/hype
It has already received great reviews at film festivals internationally. Along with Anand Gandhi’s Ship Of Thesues, The Lunchbox was also recently called a winning option for the Oscars. It premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and won the Critics Week Viewers Choice Award at the Cannes Film Festival. There’s no escaping the positive buzz around this movie.

Our assessment
After watching the film, Salman Rushdie tweeted: “I loved The Lunchbox, big hit at Telluride Film Festival, best Indian film in a long time. Strong foreign film Oscar contender, in my view. (sic)” Rarely do Hindi films earn such praise. We can’t think of many reasons why this film won’t earn more fans. Unless potboilers are all the public likes to consume.

Tales of an aspiring actor
Film: Phata Poster Nikhla Hero
Cast: Shahid Kapoor (last seen in Teri Meri Kahaani; 2012) and Ileana D’Cruz (last seen in Barfi!; 2012), Darshan Jariwala (last seen in Commando), Saurabh Shukla (last seen in Jolly LLB)
Storyline: An aspiring actor, who poses as a police officer for some reason, gets misunderstood as a real cop. Then, while he gets entangled in a series of funny action situations, he finds the love of his life and makes enough time to sing numerous songs for her.

Director
Rajkumar Santoshi (last directed Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani in 2009) Starring Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif, the film was a big hit at the box office for reasons still unknown to cinephiles. It received some very negative reviews.

Music
Pritam
Some numbers like ‘Hey Mr DJ’ and ‘Khali peeli rokne ka nai’ have gained popularity, but none of them have earned the positions that Pritam’s tunes usually occupy.

Controversies/stunts
Cricketing ace Sachin Tendulkar somehow decided to endorse the film by posting a message about it on his Facebook page. He called September the Phata Poster month. Shahid, of course, made sure he further spread the word on Twitter.

Marketing/hype
The film’s lead actors have been going around town promoting the film. Shahid has even gone ahead and called this part an “out and out masala” role, adding that he has never done a masala action comedy in his career. Meanwhile, Nargis Fakhri makes her debut as an item girl with a special number called, Dhating naach, in this film.

Our assessment
It’s still hard to believe that this director is the one who made a film as iconic as Andaz Apna Apna (1994). But then, it’s equally tough to believe that Shahid is still trying to entertain audiences with his comic skills. The promo does nothing to alter either of those beliefs.

For the final verdict: Look out for Anupama Chopra’s review tomorrow.

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